Daniela Medina Poch ■

The Land of Thunder and Lightning

The Land of Thunder and Lightning Text / Sonic lecture performance / Walk / Video essay Berlin 2020

How are Germany and the Wayuu community in Northern South America interdependent? What is the Source of our everyday Resources, and in what ways is acknowledgment of these Sources an essential step in stopping the vertical relationship of exploitation between territories and communities? If colonization imposed a singular worldview, then listening could be a way to unveil a plurality of voices.

The Land of Thunder and Lightning is a performance research about the coal extraction in North Colombia and its transformation into electricity in Germany. It is a research that has been materialized in several languages and bodies: an academic text for the Border Listening / Escucha Liminal publication, a Sonic Lecture Performance at Radical Sounds Latin America, a Carbon Walk Performance and a Video Essay.

The association of noise and power has never really been broken in the human imagination, argues Schaffer R. Murray in his book The Soundscape, our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. “In earlier times, all natural events were explained as miracles.”¹ Loud noises, such as the sound of thunder, evoked fear and respect back to the earliest times, seeming to be the expression of divine power. In the Modern era and beyond this fear and respect was transferred from natural sounds (thunder, volcano, storm) to the sounds created by industrial machinery, signifying a power shift. In a similar way, it can be argued that colonialism was the imposition of a monotonal and singular vocal structure which silenced the diversity of voices previously there. As Schaffer mentions, “Linguistic accuracy is not merely a matter of lexicography. We perceive only what we can name. In a man-dominated world, when the name of a thing dies, it is dismissed from society, and its very existence may be imperiled.”

Every living being exists because all other living beings exist. Through euphonies and cacophonies of complex interconnections, life reverberates and echoes throughout the planet. There are connections that are more visible and easily imagined than others. The Amazon Rainforest may be so diverse because it nourishes itself from sand that travels on the wind from the Sahara Desert across the Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, the northernmost peak of South America is affected by Germany’s energy consumption - why is that?

Schaffer R. Murray. 1994. The Soundscape, our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. Destiny Books.

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